Is working together the best way forward for the reseller channel? KCOM’s Mike Higginson thinks so

I find myself in the unusual position of writing this piece knowing that by the time that you, the loyal subscribers of Comms Dealer magazine read this, I will have stepped away from my role in KCOM Wholesale to confront the mighty challenge of the golf course (and wife’s job list) for the rest of the Summer.

The parting is entirely amicable – and it has been an amazing experience. A company steeped in a century of tradition, boldly re-inventing itself as a serious player in the fibre Alt-Net world, wrestling (in a positive way) with the dynamics of having both regulated and unregulated network areas, selling into both residential and business marketplaces as both a retailer and wholesaler!

Managing this in a principled and totally compliant way as a proactive wholesaler got me thinking about what it means to be a serious provider of fibre broadband and leased line services to the UK reseller channel, in what are increasingly challenging times.

It actually all boils down to two forces, both interrelated and both essential to a healthy market: Firstly, Competition (of course!), and then Co-opetition.

Co-opetiton was first defined (apparently!) by Ray Noorda, the former CEO of Novell inc. in 1992 to describe a common phenomenon in the computer industry: cooperation between competitors, which, of course, is endemic in the telecoms industry as well, especially at the Carrier level.

How does this benefit the channel? Co-opetition is a key facilitator, enabling rival businesses to grow and flourish. Researchers emphasise a number of benefits arising from co-opetition, for example, stimulation of innovation, development of technology, market diversification and the creation of new products.

All of these, of course, encourage and drive competition, which is the fusion fuel of the market as a whole. It creates healthy interaction at a wholesale level (remember ‘symbiosis’ from your GCSE biology days?) and provides the platform for the channel to flourish.

So (and going back to point about ‘what it means’), there is tremendous responsibility on those of us that wholesale and serve the reseller channel - regulation, compliance, protecting our customers information, offering quality products and services, encouraging competition, and never cutting corners. After all ‘doing things properly’ in these uncertain times is truly something to hold onto.

And so, with the golf course beckoning, I’ll leave all of you who will be logging back in on Monday for another week of delivering your services to customers up and down the country and wish you ‘Good Selling’!

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